Important Excel topics for data analysis
Data analysis is the method or system of analyzing, transforming, and cleansing raw data to procure usable and pertinent information that can help companies make effective decisions and take their operations to new heights. By providing relevant data and insights, generally presented in photos, graphs, tables, and charts, this process or technique helps lessen the risks related to important decision-making.
Data analytics incorporates not just data analysis but also data collection, storage, and organization of data, as well as the essential tools and features used for delving deeper into the datasets, along with those wielded for presenting the outcomes, like the tools for visualization of data. At the same time, data analysis is also concerned with the system of converting raw data into relevant information, explanations, and statistics.
Data visualization can be defined as the graphic characterization of data. With huge amounts of data, for example, in a time series, data visualization is an extremely productive way of conveying information.
Data Analysis is one of the most powerful techniques for making valuable data-based decisions, and Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular programs used for data analysis. It lets you evaluate and analyze data in a lot of different ways. To help you understand better about Data Analysis in Excel, this article covers the most important Excel topics for data analysis.
The process of Data Analysis Process comprises the following steps:
- Data Requirements are specific
- Gathering of data
- Processing of data
- Cleaning of data
- Data Analysis
- Communication of Data
Some Excel topics for data analysis
Excel has a wide variety of functions that gives the user a lot of options to try and match the right formula with the specific type of data that needs to be analysed.
Ranges and Tables
The specific information that the user has can be in the form of a range or table. Based on whether the data is available in the form of a table or range, the user can perform specific actions on it. Some processes are performed more successfully when data is stored in the form of tables instead of ranges. Certain types of operations can only be applied to tables. The user also gains a better understanding of how data is analyzed by learning how to name as well as use ranges and how to properly manage them.
Data Cleaning – Text Functions, Dates and Times
Before the data analysis process begins, it is important to clean and organize the data gathered from various sources. Data in Excel can be cleaned by the following methods:
- With Text Functions
By Extracting text:
You can use the LEFT, RIGHT, or MID functions to extract specific text from a cell. These functions allow you to specify the number of characters you want to extract from the left, right, or middle of a cell. For instance, to extract the first 5 characters from cell A1, use the formula “=LEFT(A1,5)”.
- Containing Date Values
By Changing the date format:
To change the format of a date, you need to select the cell or range of cells containing the dates you want to format. Then, right-click and choose “Format Cells”. In the Format Cells dialogue box, select the desired date format from the list of options.
- Containing Time Values
By Changing the time format:
To change the time format, you need to select the cell or range of cells containing the times you want to format. Then, right-click and choose “Format Cells”. In the Format Cells dialogue box, select the desired time format from the list of options.
Conditional Formatting is a feature in Excel that allows you to format cells based on certain conditions. Some examples of how to use conditional formatting include Highlighting Cells Based on Value, through which you can use conditional formatting to highlight cells that contain a certain value; Colour Scales, through which you can apply a colour scale that ranges from one colour to another based on the values in the cells; Checklists, which you can use conditional formatting to make a checklist in a range of cells; Data bars, which you can apply to cells, with longer bars indicating higher values, etc.
Sorting and Filtering
Sorting and filtering are some of the most essential functions in Excel that enable users to organize and manipulate data efficiently. Sorting allows users to arrange data in ascending or descending order according to specific criteria such as values, dates, or alphabetical order. Filtering enables users to display specific subsets of data based on criteria or conditions. This can be particularly helpful when dealing with large data sets and wanting to focus on particular data.
Subtotals with Ranges
Pivot tables are the most common way of summarizing data. However, Subtotals with Ranges is another useful Excel function that can be utilized to group as well as summarize data in ranges. To use this function, you need to have your data in a table format with headings for each column.
This function can be used by using the following steps:
- You can select the range of data you want to group and summarize.
- On the Data tab in the ribbon, click on the Subtotal button.
- In the Subtotal dialogue box, select the column you want to group by and the function you want to apply to the data, such as Sum, Count, or Average.
- Click OK to apply the subtotals.
The Quick Analysis function by Excel allows you to perform simple data analysis tasks quickly. With Quick Analysis, users can easily create charts, tables, and other visual representations of their data with just a few clicks, saving them time and effort. Some features of Excel’s Quick Analysis function include performing conditional formatting, creating pivot tables, and generating charts and graphs. Users can also use the function to analyze trends and patterns in their data and identify anomalies.
Understanding Lookup Functions
Excel Lookup Functions enable you to scan through a vast amount of data for data values that suit a set of criteria. VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP are two of Excel’s most commonly used lookup functions. VLOOKUP (vertical lookup) is used to search for a value in the first column of a range or table and then return a corresponding value from the same row in a specified column.
It is very productive for looking up data in a large database or table. HLOOKUP (horizontal lookup) works similarly to VLOOKUP, but it scans for a value in the first row of a range or table and then returns a corresponding value from the same column in a specified row. It can be helpful when the user has data arranged horizontally instead of vertically.
PivotTables are one of the most remarkable tools used in data analysis and reporting, as they enable you to summarize large amounts of data into meaningful insights quickly and easily.
With PivotTables, you can manipulate data by dragging and dropping fields into various areas of the table to generate a report that meets your specific needs. For example, you could use a Pivot Table to summarize sales data by product category, region, or time period or to compare data across different business units or departments. Some of the most important functions of PivotTables include Grouping PivotTable items, Multi-level PivotTable, Frequency distribution, Pivot chart, Slicers, Update PivotTable, and GetPivotData.
Data Visualization in Excel
Charts are easy to create and help display data in various ways, making them more useful than a sheet.
Some of the various types of charts you can find in Microsoft Excel are Column Chart, which displays vertical bars to represent the data and is effective for comparing values across different categories;
- Line Chart, which displays data as a series of points connected by lines and is used in showing trends or changes over time;
- Pie Chart, that displays data as slices of a pie and is used in showing how much each category contributes to the whole;
- Bar Chart, that displays horizontal bars to represent the data and is used for comparing values across different categories;
- Area Chart, that displays data as a series of points connected by a shaded area, and is used in showing the magnitude of changes over time;
- Scatter Plot, that displays data as a series of points on a graph, and is effective in showing the relationship between two variables.
Data validation is another basic feature in Microsoft Excel that helps ensure that only valid data is entered into cells. By setting up the data validation rules, you can restrict the type of data that can be entered into a cell, like text, numbers, dates, or any other specific values. This helps prevent any data entry errors, improves the accuracy of data, and makes analyzing and processing of data quite easy.
These were some of the most important Excel topics for data analysis.